Missing the elaborate meals at your parent’s dining table, now that you are back at work? Now, recreate them in compact kitchens with limited time
Q 49 Flavours
Renu Kurien wants you to try her fish curry. And she knows you don’t have 90 minutes.
The Chennai-based entrepreneur has just launched a range of curry pastes that enable you put a elaborate meal on the table in less than 30 minutes. All you need to do is to cook the protein — you can choose meat, fish, vegetables or eggs — with this fragrant paste, along with water or coconut milk.
“When I got married and came from Cochin to Chennai in 1987, I was in awe of my mother-in-law who cooked elaborate meals. Our home in Anna Nagar, at Q49, was synonymous with hospitality. That’s why I decided to create a line of products, named Q49, to popularise heirloom recipes.”
In 2009, Renu began to experiment with curry pastes, for her son, who was studying in Canada. “When he visited, I would make curry pastes, which I packed in a freezer box, so he could take them back and use them to cook for a few months,” she says. When her daughter moved to the US and had a baby, Renu visited and filled her freezer with an assortment of these pouches before she returned to India.
“After numerous trials and tests for over three years, our product has finally launched in Chennai five months ago,” says Renu, adding that it has a shelf life of one year, and is free of chemical preservatives and additives.
“We use only fresh ingredients, herbs and spices,” she says, explaining that they use retort processing technology, which ensures a long shelf life without the use of artificial preservatives, resulting in a curry that tastes and feels exactly like what her mother-in-law made at home.
Bestsellers: Kerala red fish curry, methi paneer masala and chicken curry paste. Visit www.q49.in. Shipping across India.
“When I travel just from Nashik to Kolhapur, I taste such dramatic changes in flavours. Then imagine how diverse the rest of the country is,” says Richa Dave, the 27-year-old founder of Tulua Foods, a company that provides homestyle, ready-to-cook curry bases inspired by regional recipes from across the country.
Tulua (meaning, ‘to rise’ in Sanskrit) was launched in August last year. “With changing lifestyles, not many have the time to prepare family recipes. My idea was to make cooking more approachable. I also wanted to archive, conserve and preserve regional recipes through our meal pastes,” says Richa.
Tulua currently offers five varieties of curry pastes: a ghee roast from Mangaluru, Goan vindaloo, Delhi’s butter masala, Malabar curry from Kerala and malaikari from West Bengal. Noticing the rising demand for regional curry pastes in the Indian market, especially after the pandemic and associated lockdowns, during which people spent more time at home, and in their kitchens, Tulua works with chefs and focuses on creating products that are versatile and relatively healthy. “They do not contain preservatives and we use high quality organic ingredients,” says Richa, adding, “For example, our ghee roast paste is used as pizza toppings or as pasta sauce.”
Bestsellers: Malabar curry, malaikari and ghee roast. Visit www.eattulua.com. Shipping across India
“Though our range of ready-to-cook curry pastes was planned earlier, we finally launched in July, at the peak of the pandemic. Going by the surge in sales I believe we launched at the right time,” says Brijesh Jacob, who co-founded Curry Tree along with Prajanya Advait.
“Our idea is to make expert cooks out of our customers and boost their confidence by ensuring the cooking process is error free,” says Brijesh. Involving a three-step process, Curry Tree has developed their these Do-It-Yourself range in consultation with a team of chefs and food technologists, highlighting the cuisines of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and West Bengal. They plan to launch the cuisines of every State eventually.
Their next launch, however, is an Asian Thai curry paste. Research is also on to offer the popular Bengalo kosha mangsho and railway curry.
“Our biryani paste has made Sundays enjoyable for many families, as it involves no fuss or elaborate processes. Our fish fry paste can be used for vegetables such as cauliflower and brinjal as well,” says Brijesh.
Stating that parties at home and potlucks have become more popular over the past couple of years, because of the pandemic, ready-to-use pastes are getting popular because of the convenience they offer for making large portions of food. Especially because, as Brijesh emphasises, “It tastes as good as home-made.”
Bestsellers: Chettinad masala, fish fry paste and Kerala Roast. Visit www.currytreepastes.com. Shipping across India.
What is retort packing?
A retort pouch is a type of food packaging made from a laminate of flexible plastic and metal foils. It allows the sterile packaging of a wide variety of food.
The food is first prepared, either raw or cooked, and then sealed into the retort pouch. The pouch is then heated to 240-250 °F (116-121 °C) for several minutes under high pressure inside a retort or autoclave machine.
This process reliably kills all commonly occurring microorganisms (particularly Clostridium botulinum), preventing it from spoiling. Such packing does not require freezing or refrigeration